Our last trip to India

January 5, 2014 at 02:06

Our first meeting with India was a good one. I was just out of high school, 18 years old, and ready to see the world. Marius and I paired up with to other friends and landed in Mumbai without a clear plan. Immediately I kind of fell in love with the big city. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. Noisy, polluted and dirty at first glance, but still – it was something quite special about the place. The smell, the people and the atmosphere we experienced just driving from the airport to the hotel with cows in the roads – we were all blown away.

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Since then Marius and I have travelled to quite a few other places in the world, but we have never had that kind of first meeting with a new country. Some people call it a culture chock – I like to see it more as an epiphany. As we had never been outside of Europe before we got to experience a country that was so different from our own – and we all loved it.

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Mumbai was a great city to start of our journey in. Thanks to our friend Tonia we got to see all of the major tourist attractions in a very short time. Being a Lonely Planet-fan at the time, she got us covered. We experienced Elephanta Island, Gandhi´s home in Mumbai, The Gateway of India, The Taj Mahal Hotel, parks, national parks, beaches, mosques and temples. We even went to see a Bollywood movie at the cinema, and later ate at Leopold’s and was offered to be extras at a movie when we went outside. Sadly we had to decline.

After a few days in Mumbai we took a 22 hour train ride to Agra. Like every other tourists who visits India, we had to see the Taj. The train ride itself was a great way to see the country. Lonely Planet, or “the Bible” as we called it, recommended to stay in sleeper class instead of first class even though the prices wasn’t that different (in European tourist standards), and of course we did.

It turned out to be good advise as we got to know very interesting people when we shared our space. We even got to know a new friend, who we still keep in touch with today, who was kind enough to help us arrange a fantastic round trip from Agra to Jaipur, so we could experience even more than we had planned. We got to see Fathepur Sikri, Amber Fort, Hawa Mahal, Baby Taj – any many other places and museums I can’t remember the name of. Our friend invited us to his beautiful restaurant and hotel Yoshis Resort on the way – for free, and we also met him and his family for dinner in Agra when we came back. It was a great experience.

And then, we got to see the great Taj Mahal. I must say I think it is everything it’s cracked up to be. It was beautiful – and huge! We spent hours wandering around it, studying the details and just sat there looking at it.

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After a great time in the north we headed towards the south for some relaxation much needed after a very busy week of sightseeing. We sat on a train for two days to reach Anjuna in Goa, and we stayed there for a whole week. There was some sightseeing there as well, but for the most part we just relaxed at the beach or by the pool, and shared delicious meals together on the local restaurants. Oh, Indian food! I love it!

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Our trip to India in 2008 was the perfect first backpacking trip. We came home after almost three weeks feeling we had been gone for months and with more souvenirs and stories in our backpacks than our friends and families could carry.

 

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Now we’re finally going back to our first crush – curious of how much she has changed in the last six years. We can only hope that she will treat us as good as she did the last time.

Andrea